When planning a road trip in Transylvania, one of the places you have to add to your itinerary is the beautiful city of Sighisoara. Sitting on top of a hill, overlooking the city is the beautiful Sighisoara Fortress, the last inhabited medieval fortress in Europe.
This culturally rich UNESCO Heritage Site is one of the main tourist attractions in the country and one of those places that will simply take your breath away. With lots of unique museums, towers and souvenir shops to explore, Sighisoara and its Historic Centre should be on your itinerary when exploring Romania.
Walking through Sighisoara Fortress will feel like a step back in time. The beautiful towers, the colorful homes and the old churches will make you feel like a part of a fairy tale. After all, this is one of the most beautiful cities in Romania!
When planning to visit this fortified city, make sure to add the attractions below to your itinerary. As a Romanian, I visited this beautiful city several times and these are my favorite things to do in Sighisoara.
Quick jump list
Visiting Sighisoara as a day trip
Sighisoara Fortress can easily be visited in one day. I recommend following the itinerary below if you want to visit all the tourist attractions in the city.
If you only have one day in Sighisoara, I recommend arriving early in the morning, especially if you’re visiting during the weekend. Weekends are extremely busy and long queues might form in front of the most visited attractions such as the Clock Tower or Dracula’s birthplace.
If you plan to spend more than one day in Sighisoara, I recommend using the remaining time to visit the surrounding area. At the end of this post, I’ve listed a few awesome day trips you can take from Sighisoara.
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A Short history of Sighisoara
Sighisoara is a Saxon village, located in the heart of Transylvania. In the 12th century, German craftsmen and merchants were dispatched to Transylvania by the King of Hungary to defend his realm.
Sighisoara turned into a flourishing city, with 15 guilds and 20 handicrafts branches. To defend the city, 14 towers were erected, each carrying the name of a guild.
Nowadays, Sighisoara is a city with a population of almost 30,000 people, extending outside the fortress.
Top things to do in Sighisoara
Just in case you want to explore all these Sighisoara attractions, I listed them in the order you should visit them. Follow this self-walking itinerary of Sighisoara and you’ll explore the best of the city in just one day!
1. Visit the umbrella street
At the base of Sighisoara Fortress, you’ll find this beautiful umbrella street. There’s a nice restaurant nearby and during the summer, the umbrellas keep shadow for the hungry tourists grabbing something to eat here.
You can find the umbrella street on Octavian Goga Street, right in front of Al Forno restaurant. You can stop by just to take a photo or you can sit down, relax and eat breakfast.
2. Visit the torture chamber
Start making your way up to the fortress. You’ll have to climb a few stairs and you’ll arrive at the Clock Tower.
Like many other medieval fortresses, Sighisoara has a dark past too. Right near the Clock Tower you’ll find a small entrance, leading to a tiny torture chamber.
The torture chamber can be visited nowadays for 4 RON (1 EUR) and here you’ll see displayed a few torture items. One of them is unique though. A 6 kg slab of stone that used to be hanged on pickpockets’ neck as punishment.
3. Visit the History Museum and the Clock Tower
Among the top things to do in Sighisoara is visiting the History Museum and the Clock Tower. The Clock Tower is an important landmark in Sighisoara and it can be seen from all around the city.
Its beautiful tiled roof and impressive architecture are just a few of the reasons why you should visit this tower. The good news is that you can actually climb to the top for the best views of Sighisoara.
The Tower is 64 meters tall and it was built in the 14th century to protect the main entrance to the city. Until 1556, it was also home to the city council.
The tower is now home to the History Museum. Here you’ll find old ceramics, weapons, traditional furniture, old pharmaceutical objects and other objects that portray the history of Sighisoara.
Clock Tower & Museum Opening hours – closed on Mondays. Tuesday to Friday the museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm. Saturday and Sunday from 10 am until 5 pm.
Clock Tower & Museum Entrance fee – 15 RON (3 EUR)
4. Visit the Weapon Museum
Right near the Clock Tower is the Weapon Museum, also part of the History Museum. Here you’ll see displayed antique swords, rifles and guns. You’ll also have the chance to admire antique armours and shields.
5. Eat Langos, a Hungarian food specialty
Langos is a Hungarian fried bread with cheese, sour cream and onion sauce. It looks like a flatbread, a bit similar to pizza and it’s a delicious snack.
There is a small shop selling Langos in Sighisoara, on Cetatii Street, near the Clock Tower. Locals love this Hungarian specialty so don’t be surprised if you’ll see a long queue in front of the shop.
6. Visit the Monastery Church
When I visited, in August 2020, the exterior of Monastery Church Sighisoara was in renovations. However, I had the chance to visit the church’s interior and I loved it! The entrance fee is 8 RON (1,5 EUR).
A unique characteristic of this church is that the interior was built in Baroque style while the exterior was built in late Gothic architecture. The Monastery Church is one of the must-see places in Sighisoara so don’t hesitate to stop by.
7. Visit Dracula’s birthplace
When it comes to Vlad Tepes, also known as Dracula, the most popular place associated with him is the Bran Castle. Few know that he was actually born in Sighisoara and you can actually visit his birthplace and the room where he lived until the age of 4.
Vlad Tepes was born in 1431 and is considered to be one of the most important rulers of Romania. The museum is located near the Clock Tower of Sighisoara. In the same building, there is a restaurant called “Vlad Dracul Restaurant“
Another museum dedicated to Dracula in Sighisoara is “The Dracula Investigation“. It’s an interactive museum where you’ll have the chance to learn all the details about Dracula’s history. The museum is open daily from 10 am until 8 pm and the entrance ticket costs 15 RON (3 EUR).
8. Visit the Citadel Square (Piata Cetatii)
One of the main tourist attractions in Sighisoara is Piata Cetatii. This big market is home to a few restaurants and several souvenir shops. The colorful houses surrounding the market add to this place’s charm.
The Citadel Square is a place full of history. In the past, markets, public executions and trials were held here.
If you have more than one day to spend in Sighisoara or you want to explore more of the city, I recommend taking a tuk-tuk tour. For 20 RON per person (10 RON for children) you’ll get the chance to see more of the city in this unconventional means of transport. The tours start from Citadel Square and a driver will be provided.
9. Shop for souvenirs
There are countless souvenir shops in Sighisoara. Most of them are located between the Clock Tower and Cetatii Market. They sell anything from traditional Romanian clothes to small trinkets.
Some shops sell all kinds of hand-made items. You’ll find beautiful ceramics or woodwork. For such a souvenir, expect to pay a little bit more.
One of the most popular souvenir shops in Sighisoara is Arts & Crafts. Here you’ll find icons painted on glass, traditional rugs and other unique objects. Another good place to search for souvenirs is Transylvanian Souvenirs.
10. Visit the St. Iosif Cathedral
This beautiful Roman-Catholic Church is most of the time overlooked by tourists. Built in 1896, the church burnt down in 1983 and then it was renovated in 1984.
The church was built in neo-classic style, inspired by the architectural style of Northern Italy. It’s located just a short walk away from Piata Cetatii.
11. Visit the Bootmakers’ Tower
One of the best preserved towers of Sighisoara Citadel is Bootmakers’ Tower, built in 1681 after the original tower was destroyed. The tower is built in Baroque style and it was used for defence.
Unfortunately, the inside of the tower cannot be visited as it hosts the local radio station but you can admire the exterior.
12. Get lost on the colorful streets
There’s nothing better than exploring the narrow, colorful streets of Sighisoara. Most of the tourists only explore the well-known tourist attractions.
The smaller streets are almost always empty, waiting for you to take hundreds of photos. Take your time to admire the Saxon houses and enjoy the peace and quiet.
13. Admire the street performances
During the weekend, Sighisoara can become a busy place. It’s a popular destination among Romanians, who want to escape from big cities but also among foreign tourists.
During weekends, there are impromptu street performances. The fortress even has a jester. You’ll see him walking around the old city so make sure to have your camera ready.
14. Visit the Tailors’ Tower
Opposite to the Clock Tower is the Tailors’ Tower that also acts as a gate to the fortress. The tower was destroyed during the 1676 fire and it was rebuilt shortly after.
The windows from the top of the tower were used for defence. Unfortunately, the inside of the tower cannot be visited but you can admire the exterior and imagine how life used to be in Sighisoara a few centuries ago.
15. Admire the Butchers’ Tower
Out of 14 towers, only 9 remain today and Butchers’ Tower is one of them. With a hexagonal shape, the tower dates back from the XV century and it had a strategic defence position.
16. Climb the Scholar’s Stairway (Scara Scolarilor)
One of the places you need to see in Sighisoara is the Scholar’s Stairway. Leading to Josef Haltrich High School, one of the oldest high schools in Transylvania, this covered wooden stairway has 175 stairs still remaining today out of 300.
It was built to ease the access of students during the winter or rainy days. Nowadays, the stairway is used to connect Piata Cetatii to the Church on the Hill. Climbing the stairs can be a bit tiring but it’s a unique experience.
The legend says that couples used to test their love on this stairway. The boys had to kiss their loved ones on each one of the stairs and tell her name without mistaking it. If the boy passed the test, it meant that the couple was meant to be together.
17. Visit the Church on the Hill and the Saxon cemetery
Church on the Hill is the third-largest church in Transylvania and one of the most important ones. Located on top of the hill, at an altitude of 429 meters, the church can be seen from all around the city.
The church was finished in 1488, under the patronage of St. Nicolae. The interior can be visited today for 8 RON (1,5 EUR). Inside, you’ll find an ancient crypt where the tombs of city leaders are believed to be located.
Right near the church is the Saxon Cemetery. Some of the oldest tombs here date from the 1700s and engraved on them you can see both the names and the occupations of the deceased.
18. Admire the Ropemakers’ Tower
The Ropemaker’s Tower is located near the Church on the Hill and is the only inhabited tower out of the 9 towers of Sighisoara. Today the tower is home to the guard of the cemetery.
Also, Ropemakers’ Tower is one of the few towers left untouched by the 1676 fire.
19. Take photos dressed in an armour
Right near the Clock Tower, at the shadow of the trees you’ll find a guy renting armours and swords. For a few minutes, you can become a real knight in a fairy-tale setting.
20. Admire the Holy Trinity Church
If there’s one thing that you should know about the Romanian people is that they’re very religious people. There are almost 30,000 churches across the country and the Holy Trinity Church in Sighisoara is one of the most beautiful.
Exit Sighisoara Fortress and head to the Holy Trinity Church. Built in Neo-Byzantine style, the church was finished in 1937. While you’re here, don’t hesitate to go inside and admire the beautifully painted walls.
21. Head to Bella Vista Guest House for the best view of the city
For a romantic evening and sunset, head to one of the best viewpoints in Sighisoara – Bella Vista Guest House or Vila Franka (they’re located one near the other). These two villas are located right across the Sighisoara Fortress and the views are amazing from here!
If you want to take photos, I recommend bringing a camera with a good zoom lens. Vila Franka also has a great restaurant, where you can enjoy dinner while admiring the sunset.
Day trips from Sighisoara
If you have more than one day in Sighisoara, here are a few awesome day trips you can take. To visit these places, you can rent a car or choose a guided tour if available.
1. A half-day trip to Biertan
Biertan is located only 30 km away from Sighisoara (30 minutes by car). This beautiful Saxon village is famous for its stunning fortified church, standing right in the middle of the village on a small hill.
Since 1993, Biertan is a UNESCO Heritage Site and people from all around the world come to admire the beauty of this unique place.
I visited Biertan as a half-day trip from Sighisoara and I fell in love with it. I visited the Biertan Fortified Church and then spent a few hours climbing the hills surrounding the village, looking for the perfect photo location. Book your tour here.
2. A day trip to Transfagarasan
Transfagarasan, the road that was named by Top Gear “The Best Road in the World”, is a must-see while in Transylvania. Crossing Fagaras Mountains, this road is an architectural wonder.
Start from Sighisoara early in the morning and head to Balea Lake. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the beauty of Transfagarasan and return to Sighisoara on the same day. Read my full guide about Transfagarasan here.
3. A day trip to Rupea Citadel and Viscri Village
Another awesome day trip from Sighisoara you can take is to Rupea Citadel and Viscri Village. Rupea is one of the oldest archaeological sites in Romania and the citadel was recently renovated and can be visited.
Viscri Village is another beautiful Saxon village, made famous by Prince Charles. Here you can visit the beautiful fortified church and enjoy some traditional dishes at one of the local restaurants.
Best restaurants in Sighisoara
1. Joseph T. Restaurant
An elegant restaurant, located inside the Central Park Hotel, Joseph T. Restaurant has an incredible international menu. Here you’ll find delicious dishes such as penne with beef, cajun chicken and other delicacies. You can also choose from a wide selection of Romanian wines.
2. La Perla Restaurant
With a unique design, La Perla Restaurant is one of the best restaurants in Sighisoara. Here you can order delicious pizzas or traditional dishes. The prices are affordable and the food is incredible! I recommend trying the famous soup in bread and papanasi as dessert.
3. Georgius Krauss Restaurant
Located inside the Sighisoara Fortress, Georgius Krauss Restaurant is the perfect combination of style and delicious meals. Chef Florin Mihalache is there to make sure that you’ll have a wonderful experience.
How to get to Sighisoara
The easiest way to get to Sighisoara is by using public transport. There are trains and buses connecting the major cities of Romania to Sighisoara. As an alternative, you can always rent a car.
For train schedules and online tickets, visit the official website of CFR Romania.
1. Brasov to Sighisoara
There are 8 daily trains from Brasov to Sighisoara. The trip will take between 2 hours 40 minutes and 3 and a half hours and a ticket at the second class costs 40 LEI (8 EUR).
However, keep in mind that traveling by train from Brasov takes a lot more time than taking a bus. A bus journey to Sighisoara from Brasov takes only 1 hour and a half and the ticket is 70 RON (14 EUR).
If you want to plan a day trip from Brasov to Sighisoara, I recommend booking a guided tour.
2. Sibiu to Sighisoara
There are 6 daily trains from Sibiu to Sighisoara and the ride will take about 2 hours and a half. A one-way ticket costs 13 RON (2,5 EUR).
There are no direct buses from Sibiu to Sighisoara so your best option is taking the train or booking a guided tour.
3. Bucharest to Sighisoara
There are 3 daily trains from Bucharest to Sighisoara and the trip will take 5 and a half hours. A ticket at the second class costs 66 RON (15 EUR).
Even though there are buses available from Bucharest, I recommend taking the train. It’s much faster and more comfortable.
4. Cluj Napoca to Sighisoara
There are 5 daily trains from Cluj Napoca to Sighisoara and the trip will take 3 and a half hours. The price of a ticket at the second class is 60 RON (12 EUR).
Alternatively, you can take the bus for 90 RON (18 EUR). The journey by bus is a bit shorter – 3 hours.
Where to stay in Sighisoara
If you want to stay inside the Sighisoara Fortress, be prepared to pay extra. However, you’ll find hotels for every budget in the city. Here are my recommendations.
- Budget – Studio Tania – good location, clean rooms, good WiFi, quiet area, friendly staff
- Mid-Range – Casa Marcus – good location, beautiful rooms, friendly owners, close to all tourist attractions
- Luxury – The Throne – excellent location, antique furniture, spacious and clean rooms, excellent amenities
Sighisoara is one of the most beautiful villages in Europe and a must-see while in Romania. The colorful houses, the guild towers and the city’s history will make you fall in love with this place. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments section below.
May the travel bug bite you!